“Yesterday was the hardest day of my life. Closing and having to put hundreds of the best humans out of work because we had to, there was no other choice. We hope we didn’t let you down, we tried to hold on as long as we could.” On Tuesday, March 17, Terence Tubridy, founder and managing partner of In Good Company Hospitality (IGC), shared this message on social media with his customers. It was a reality business owners across the state were hit with after Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that all bars and restaurants would have to close to anything other than takeout and delivery.
For the Broad Channel resident, with many of IGC’s properties based in Manhattan, the logistics of takeout and delivery weren’t feasible. Of IGC’s 13 properties, only Manhattan-based Parker & Quinn, and Rockaway’s Bungalow Bar remain open to the extent they can be in the coronavirus shutdown.
Despite the hardship of mass layoffs, Tubridy is determined to not let those in the restaurant and bar industry fall, or at least, go hungry. Later on March 17, he announced a new initiative—Family Meal. Tubridy immediately launched an effort to provide free meals to not only his own employees who were let go, but anyone in the bar/restaurant industry across the city. Anyone in the industry can fill out an online form with the name of the place they worked, a pickup time and the number of meals needed. They can then pick up the meal at Parker & Quinn in Manhattan.
The effort is being supported through a GoFundMe campaign, which has seen wild success in just a few days. Since launching on March 17, more than 300 donors have given nearly $50,000 to help cover the costs of meals. A link to the campaign can be found directly on the icghospitality Instagram page. The meal of the day is also posted here. You can also search “Family Meal for the NYC Restaurant Community” on GoFundMe.com to donate. The link to the form for industry workers to order a meal can also be found on the donation page.
Tubridy says the idea behind the effort came to him after going through another crisis that hit close to home not too long ago—Hurricane Sandy. “The idea is, how do you help people as quickly as possible? I remember from our experience with Sandy was the different people who were down here feeding us. So this was born out of that. People don’t know how long we’re going to be in this for, but one thing we can do is feed people and hopefully displace that cost to those workers and their families. We don’t care where you come from, where you worked, whether you’re a dishwasher or a bartender or general manager. If you are hungry, come take a meal,” Tubridy said.
While the program has been an instant success, as Tubridy tries to keep his businesses afloat, he’s not naïve to the fact that the shutdowns are a major economic hit, and things could get worse if immediate action is not taken by city, state and federal governments. “We need to let our elected officials know that our small businesses need help,” he said, adding that it needs to be a joint effort that goes beyond just the bar and restaurant industry. “There needs to be full cooperation from bottom to top over the next few months from banks, to landlords, to business owners to the government. We need compassionate cooperation. This is not business as usual.”
Tubridy believes even through a health crisis, something can and must be done. “The conversation is coming about the economic survival and public health are paramount, but these two aren’t mutually exclusive. I think we can do both at the same time, but we need our government officials to act, and act quickly,” he said.
In the meantime, Tubridy suggests that the public does what it can to keep businesses—all businesses—afloat. “Order local. Order out. Any restaurant that’s still open, order from them. Gift cards are great for places that are closed, but for anybody that’s trying to stay open because people are willing to work, we should try and support them by ordering in. We’re all in the same boat,” Tubridy said. “I don’t care if you order from Bungalow Bar or Parker & Quinn. The whole community needs it. The whole industry needs it. What good is Bungalow if it doesn’t have Thai Rock? What good is this neighborhood without the Harbor Light? Order from every restaurant you possibly can, and let our elected officials know that we all need help.”
By Katie McFadden
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